Bung Moktar told Felcra ALP RM150m investment in trust unit recommended by Finance Minister: Witness

KUALA LUMPUR (May 15): A witness told the Sessions Court here today the RM150 million investment by the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) in Public Mutual unit trust in 2015 was recommended by the then Finance Minister.

A member of Felcra’s board of director, Dr Habibah Suleiman, 72, said it was Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who was then the agency’s non-executive chairman, who informed the board that the investment was recommended by the Finance Minister.

She said Bung Moktar informed the matter during the Felcra board of directors (ALP) meeting Series 157 in June 2015.

“I did not know that the amount of investment requested was RM150 million, as the amount that was approved at the ALP meeting was only RM50 million.

“The board did ask Datuk Seri Bung Moktar about the difference in the amount that was invested in the Public Mutual Trust Unit and he said he had met with the (then) Finance Minister and had brought Felcra's application for approval," she added.

Habibah, who is the fifth prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by Bung Moktar’s lawyer, M. Athimulan, in a corruption trial involving the Kinabatangan Member of Parliament and his wife, actress Datin Seri Zizie Ezette A. Samad

She said it was Bung Moktar who told the ALP that it was the Finance Minister who recommended the RM150 million investment.

Questioned by Athimulan on those present during the ALP meeting in June 2015, Habibah said they included Datuk Mohd Isa Hussain, from the Finance Ministry, and Felcra chief executive officer Datuk Ramlee Abu Bakar.

Athimulan: I put it to you that all ALP members, including you (Habibah) had knowledge on the change in the amount of investment from RM50 million to RM150 million before the 157th board meeting?

Habibah: I did not know about it before the June meeting.

On the amount of commission that Public Mutual investment agent Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar, 42, would receive with Felcra’s investment, Habibah said she did not ask Norhaili about it.

Bung Moktar, who was at that time the non-executive chairman of Felcra, was charged with taking a bribe of RM2.2 million from Public Mutual investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid, 38, through his wife Zizie Ezette.

He was accused of committing the offence as an inducement to obtain approval from the then Finance Minister II for Felcra to invest RM150 million in Public Mutual unit trust products.

The offence was allegedly committed at Taman Melawati branch of Public Bank Berhad at No. 262-265, Jalan Bandar 12, Taman Melawati here between 12.30pm and 5pm on June 12, 2015.

Bung Moktar was also charged with corruptly receiving RM262,500 in bribes for himself from the same individual through Public Islamic Treasures Growth Fund (PITGF) account number 044797816 which registered under Zizie Ezette’s name for the same purpose.

On another charge, Bung Moktar was accused of corruptly obtaining RM337,500 bribe from Public Mutual investment agent, Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar, 42, via Public Ittikal Sequel Fund (PITSEQ) account number 044797824 which was registered under Zizie Ezette’s name for the same purpose.

Both the offences were allegedly committed at the same location at 12.16pm and 12.28pm, respectively, on June 19, 2015.

All the charges were framed under Subsection 17(a) of the MACC Act and can be sentenced under Section 24 (1) of the same law which provides for a jail term not exceeding 20 years and fine not less than five times of the bribe amount or RM10,000 whichever is higher, upon conviction.

 Zizie Ezette also pleaded not guilty to three charges of abetting her husband on the same matter at the same place, dates and time.

The charges were made under Section 28(1) (c ) of the MACC Act and she faced an imprisonment for not more than 20 years, and fine of not less than five times of the bribe or RM10,000 whichever is higher if found guilty.

The hearing before judge Rozina Ayob continues on Aug 10.

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